The Longines World’s Best Racehorse accolade is one of the most prestigious honours in the entire sport of horse racing. The annual award gives recognition to the highest-rated horse in the world based upon their performances in the year, and is ultimately racing’s version of world rankings.
The concept inaugurated in 2003, when Lockinge Stakes winner Hawk Wing was crowned the maiden winner, and some massive names have formed an incredible roll of honours since — including two-time winners Frankel and Arrogate and Australian legend Winx.
The 2022 recipient was named at last month’s ceremony in London. So, without giving too much away, read on as we take a look back at the last four winners of the World’s Best Racehorse prize.
Pipping Lockinge Stakes, Queen Anne Stakes, Sussex Stakes and International Stakes winner Baaeed to the award, Flightline was given the highest rating for 2022 — matching the aforementioned Frankel’s biggest ever rating of 140.
The now retired Colt, who never set off bigger than odds-on in the horse racing betting for any his five career outings, won the Breeders’ Cup Classic, the Grade 1 Pacific Classic Stakes and the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap in 2022 to become the seventh United States-trained highest-rated horse of the year.
2021: Knicks Go
Another winner from the States, Knicks Go achieved a rating of 129 after winning the Pegasus World Cup, Prairie Meadows Cornhusker Handicap, Whitney Stakes, Lukas Classic Stakes and the Breeders’ Cup Classic in 2021.
The Brad H. Cox-trained horse, who also won the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile in 2020, beat Derby winner Adayar, Saudi Cup champion Mishriff and Eclipse victor St Mark’s Basilica by two ratings as the British and Irish-trained horses rounded off the year on 127.
The first non-US winner to feature on our list, Ghaiyyath was handed a rating of 130 at the end of 2020 after winning the Dubai Millennium Stakes, Coronation Cup, Eclipse and International Stakes for Charlie Appleby and Godolphin.
Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Authentic was in second with a rating of 126, while the remainder of the top 10 were all handed ratings of 125 — which included Godolphin’s Bivouac from their Australian operation and French-trained Persian King.
2019: Crystal Ocean, Enable & Waldgeist
There are a few instances where two horses have been crowned the joint-highest rated, but this is the only time in the award’s relatively short history that three horses have shared the title — with Crystal Ocean, Enable and Waldgeist all given a rating of 128 in 2019.
Kicking things off with the former, the Michael Stoute-trained trained horse won the Grade 3 Gordon Richards Stakes and Aston Park Stakes before landing the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot. Crystal Ocean was fancied for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and the Champion Stakes, but suffered a serious leg injury on the gallops and was retired immediately.
Moving on to Enable, the legendary filly is considered one of the best of all time. She could fare no better than eighth in 2018 despite winning the Arc and the Breeders’ Cup Turf, but landed the top spot in 2019 after claiming the Yorkshire Oaks, the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes and the Eclipse.
Finally, 2019 Arc winner Waldgeist ended Enable’s lengthy unbeaten run at Paris Longchamp — denying the John Gosden-trained filly the opportunity to become the maiden winner of three Arc’s, defeating Enable by almost two lengths in the French capital.